Everyone is lit up either by substance (alcohol most likely if you go to enough gallery opening receptions), emotion maybe such as love (or lust), and the flattery of words like poetry. AF came to one show that is lit up in all the obvious content and in more subtle contexts. Thrush Holmes had his debut solo exhibition last January 24th and the show was entitled: All Lit Up on Wine.
The Toronto based artist presented paintings punctuated by neon tube lighting integrated amidst the abstracted mode of outlined forms, shades of formal still life compositions, dripping spray paint defacing what can be a poetic landscape and the glow of judicious restraint. Holmes doesn’t want street art cred with the graffiti feel of the spray paint. It is just another expressive layer to the multi-faceted nature of the works on display.
You immediately detect Jean-Michel Basquiat with a crown popping up somewhere, the outlined forms of Henri Matisse, the floral compositions of Van Gogh, and the gestural verve of Cy Twombly. All of these are familiar references but the oeuvre is definitely Holmes creating beauty that is hard core and not fragile pretty. The dark background canvasses kept the Gothic feel and punk sensibility palpable but yet it evoked elegance. There is a deft touch of restraint where the necessary objects are allowed to breathe and shine. The neon served as the romantic afterglow and every part becomes a well versed prose that made his pieces sheer poetry. Ever the master, Holmes knew how to put it all together cohesively as such plethora of material can verge on overload.
Perhaps it was an expressive embodiment of what is close to the artist’s heart. (There were several tiny crate boxes with hearts in them.) It can be a mood that stroked his fancy to construct an amalgamation of artistic choices to piece together his creation or creature. (Very much like Frankenstein!)
Holmes devised shrewdly the various elements to make a darker yet nuanced ideal of beauty with his latest series. In defacing his own work, Holmes achieved raw aesthetic ecstasy and unbridled his passion. It’s a romanticized notion that showed up on the canvasses. Inspiration clicked on and birthed one sexy beast. You cannot look away and you’re drawn to it. Unscrew the cork from the bottle and pour it on then get ready to be lit all over.
Please see our video with the artist:
Thrush Holmes: All Lit Up on Wine / On View: Jan. 24 – Mar. 1, 2014
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am to 6 pm)
Mike Weiss Gallery. 520 West 24th Street. NYC, NY 10011
Art Review by: OscarA. Laluyan
Select Art Images from Mike Weiss Gallery courtesy of the artist
Photography & Video by: Max Noy Photo